Visual Arts Reviews

2016 ART EXHIBITION - Burbage Art Group

Burbage Art Group exhibited their work at Burbage Institute on Saturday July 16th.

I was impressed with the quality of the art which this enthusiastic group of local artists have produced. At one time there were as many as 14 visitors in the room and they clearly enjoyed walking around the exhibition. Taste of course varies between individuals and their favourite works varied enormously.

Burbage Art Group is a small number of artists who meet every week. Many of them are experienced artists who have been involved with art all their lives. Some of the artists have had their works exhibited in prestigious venues such as the Royal Miniature Galleries in London. Young people are encouraged to join the group and a university student attends during holidays. Beginners and newcomers are welcome. There is a healthy tendency for the artists to know what their next steps will be.

In the exhibition a wide variety of media was in evidence and there was a variety of subjects. Interesting use of materials include working on clairefontaine pastelmat paper using a combination of watercolours and pastels. Watercolours as you would expect were much in evidence. Some very colourful flowers were amongst my favourites. Fabric and embroidery collages were examples of the adventurous use of materials.

There were many good anatomically accurate bird, animal and fish which have been lovingly worked upon and which deserve appreciation. Landscapes were well represented often with interestingly painted houses, some scenes recognisable, others formed from the imagination as in the case of a picture of birch trees.

The human form was the main preoccupation with one of the artists. Drawings included athletes showing accurate anatomical details. The muscles on a dancer gave body builders something to aim for. I think the artist may receive inspiration and teaching from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

An interesting subject was a working elephant in Sheffield in the First World War. Lizzie the elephant was recruited to replace horses that went to war in Europe and perhaps was a distraction from the horrors of the war.

Each year the Burbage Art Group sponsors a school artist award at Buxton Community School. The young artist’s works included a mixture of graphics, photographs and 3 D works. The brief for her work was related to the needs of local industry. Her slumped bowl was delightful to see.

It was a free event with cakes and refreshments. There was also a quiz for children. Anyone wanting information about the pay-as-you-go classes should contact Rachel Slaney on 01538 266220

Roger Horvath

THE DERBYSHIRE OPEN 2016 - Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Blink and you may miss it! Buxton Museum and Art gallery is an inconspicuous grey stone building on the steep hill of Terrace road, between the Spring Gardens shopping centre and higher Buxton market place. However, step inside and the visitor is treated to a veritable Aladdin’s cave of art and historic memorabilia which is currently surrounded by the magnificent highlight of paintings and sculptures which form this year’s “Derbyshire Open Art Competition”, which runs from 25th June to 2 September 2016..

Entrants were asked to capture an image of what Derbyshire means to them. The resultant selected works of both amateur and professional artists of all ages form an amazing display of both realistic and abstract works. This year, the judges looked at 309 entries and selected 105, including 29 works from young people aged 20 and under. The artists could use a variety of materials , including oils, acrylics, watercolours and other media, even digital imagery.

Around gallery 2 and centre stage is the Derbyshire Trophy 2016 winning entry entitled “Derbyshire Moors”, by Harry McArdle. I have trouble describing the glowing orange and green landscape. Look closely, are they cows in the distance? Stand back to enjoy the foreground bracken and background of familiar curved hills. This is an impression of the bleak Derbyshire moors, beloved by hikers, bikers. and all countryside lovers.

On the surrounding walls are such a variety of works that range from the abstract to real life artist’s impressions, also, three sculptures form a creative, three dimensional effect "Bark Machine One" by Ken Jones, made from wood and lead forms a tower of curved bark held together by circles of lead. How many hours must have been spent to collect all those apparently identical pieces of bark?

Another ingenious three dimensional exhibit is “I saw the Finest Ram, Sir” by James Hargreaves described as “made of metal”, the ram’s nose is a nutcracker, its horns are curved copper pipes and it has eyes made of marbles with a body of chicken wire. such imagination!

The amazing artistic creations stretch from the main gallery, through the foyer and up the stairs. On the first floor, the junior artist’s work is displayed. The Derbyshire County Council Young Artist Award went to Charlie Collins for his “River Garden Girl” an evocative watercolour and pen depiction of the head of a girl looking at an exotic bird.

The amazing and imaginative exhibits go on and on. The visitor needs to allow at least half a day to fully appreciate the talent and imagination of these creators if fine art, and I also commend the judges for the variety of their selections.

I regret that I am limited for space, so have only mentioned a few of the magnificent works of art. To quote William Wordsworth, “I gazed and gazed but little thought what wealth the show to me had brought”.

I strongly recommend everyone to visit Buxton museum and art gallery. It is an unforgettable and wonderful experience..

More information can be found on the website

Jackie Corrigan

EXPECTATIONS - Louise Jannetta Fine Art

I was honoured to visit the studio of Louise Janetta at a quiet time, Louise showed me round her gallery, and explained how she designed and developed her unique artistic paintings, sculptures and collages. Some of which have been created specifically for the Buxton Festival.

Amazingly Louise is self-taught, her working life began in her family upholstery business, fortunately, after 20 years, and she eventually left to concentrate on her artistic talent. Not only does she create paintings from a variety of media, including string, leaves and branches and, of course: oils on canvas, watercolours and charcoal to name a few Her imaginative sculptures may combine copper wire, wax figures and felt. in fact, this imaginative lady may use the most unusual materials, but the finished works are not only amazing, but also easily recognisable.

Some of we locals may gasp in amazement, as Louise loves the Buxton air. She finds it clear and the colours are so changeable, which allows her artistic talent to produce paintings of unusual scenes, such as a black and white back street view of Bennett Street and a collage of the town’s famous buildings, inspired by the view from the Grove hotel, which is an interesting change from the normal artists’ work

One of her favourite subjects are woodlands, for example, she may be cutting a forest-worth of leaves and branches from canvas, then utilising the technique, which is similar to that of the well-dressing makers, to painstakingly attach them to the background material, thereby producing the background for a painting of an Autumnal forest.

Her sculptures are also fascinating. I especially admired the series of wax figures, each encased in its own sealed jar. One effigy of a man clinging to the rim appeared to be clawing his way round the edge. On closer inspection, the entire work was placed on a turntable and the movement was an optical illusion thus indicating once again, the talent and creativity of this amazing lady.

Not only does Louise create these works of art. She also has the equipment to frame her paintings; she also demonstrated her unique press for printing and etchings. Should any artist require their work individually framed, she will be happy to produce it to their specification.

She is fast becoming famous in the North West. In Buxton, her work can be seen in the following galleries: The Derbyshire Open Art Competition in Buxton Museum and Art gallery, the Green Man gallery where her work received the Buxton Spa Prize, and the Pavilion Gardens Art Café, also, of course, in her own gallery at the rear of 34 Dale Road.

She is happy to produce black and white pictures of houses and other buildings at the owner’s request and also organises tutorials on many aspects of art at her studio.

Further information can be found on her website:

Jackie Corrigan

THE GREAT DOME ART FAIR - Peak District Artisans

The Peak District Artisans celebrate their silver anniversary by returning to the Devonshire Dome for their annual Great Dome Art Fair.

The majestic Dome provides the perfect backdrop to this eclectic range of talent, from silversmiths to woodturners, painters to ceramicists, and photographers to blacksmiths, all with a stunning array of stands to showcase their craft.

There are now over 60 members of this group, established in 1991 (as Peak District Products) as a way of “promoting the wares of producers based in the Peak District with the hope that the label would come to mean the highest standards of excellence throughout the range of home-grown products.” Since its inception, the membership continues to grow in diversity yet maintains the high standards of craftsmanship. Because of its constant evolution, even if you have attended a previous exhibition, there is always something new to see with the constant influx of new members.

Whatever your tastes or interests, there is something for everyone in this outstanding collection of ability and skill, be it the tactile smoke-fired tiles of Vivienne Sillar, the crazy world of anthropomorphic birds of John Rattigan, the delicate and intricate photorealistic artwork of Rita Chang, David Turner’s botanical-inspired ironwork, Jill Ray’s stylised landscape prints, Juliet Forrest’s luminous stained glass or the magical precious metal jewellery created by Lucy Palmer.

The Fair provides a fantastic opportunity to see the best the Peak District has to offer and to talk to the talented individuals who are inspired by their surroundings. Take your time to wander between the stalls and chat to the artisans, maybe get a drink from the bar and appreciate the beautiful architecture.

This year, ten members, including Lynne Wilkinson, Jane Lewis-Eccleston and Rebecca Lawley, are donating an original piece of work for a silent auction to raise money for Lane End Farm Trust, which provides outdoor farm activities for disabled and disadvantaged young people.

The exhibition runs from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday 16th July and Sunday 17th July. Admission is free.

Sian-Elin Flint-Freel


Each year for the Fringe, the Green Man Gallery members decide on an open theme upon which they create a piece or two of explorative art for an exhibition, generally to delightful results. As one may guess, the theme this year was rambling, an idea which gallery member Caroline Small said covered both rambling across the landscape and also through artistic imagination, and that brief echoes wonderfully across the exhibition.

Rambling is an experience, a personal one, and so it is clear to see how each artist developed their piece from their own views of the landscape. There are no what you call traditional artists at the Green Man, each artist experiments, they ramble through imaginative possibilities, and through this one gets a wonderful sense of what the landscape means to them.

Possibly the most personal pieces were those of Caroline Small and Kate Aimson, their pieces hugely reflecting their own landscapes. Kate’s textile piece is based on Mermaid Pool on Morridge, where Kate spends a lot of time, and one can see her love for the place in the piece, seeing a romantic view of the reflections, wind, and ripples. Caroline’s story of having taken her photographs by a wall protected from torrential wind really show the intimacy and safety the nature in the photographs seems to bring against the hostilities of life.

The idea of rambling is seen clearly in Ilsa Elford’s pieces. Her ‘soul’ pieces are just great, being a spur of the moment idea to paint landscapes on old shoe soles, creating a very personal idea of walking in the land.

Mandy Collins’ sculpture ‘Dovedale Flow’, created from her imagination, really captures the run of a river across its land, with light and moving silk strips, flowing both physically and visually.

Though I could only mention a few, all artists, also including Mara Edwards, Dawn Featherstone, Fiona Jubb, Vicky Kenworthy, Val Muir, and Suzanne Pearson, created pieces which really captured the landscape in a context of meaning to them, an idea a visitor really feels entering the room, and for a while afterwards. And it goes without saying that all are excellent to look at. It is of course free, so certainly pop along to see a lovely set of pieces that capture the artist as much as their rambling.

Alex Paul


Worth “waiting” for:

The Devonshire suite of the “Dome” was packed of over 100 photographic enthusiasts, all eagerly awaiting the presentation by Charlie Waite, renowned landscape photographer, author of several books on the subject .and writer of several newspaper columns. .But that’s not all, he is also a well-known for his television work, including frequent appearances on BBC Breakfast time and Countryfile.

Charlie’s enthusiasm and commitment for photography is evidently exhibited through his expert unscripted talk spanning nearly two hours, enhanced by his sense of humour. Both that and the display of his own photographs, both black and white and colour, projected on to a large screen kept the audience enthralled. No-one fell asleep!.

The topic was mainly concerned with emphasising with the landscape, albeit the natural countryside or still life and “putting one’s head, heart and eyes into the frame” thus creating physical and intellectual joy for the photographer.

One topic was the landscape photographer’s essential consideration for using the skies. For the light, shadows and cloud formations, which can enhance or detract from the final photograph. This requires extreme patience to watch and wait for the absolute moment to snap open the shutter. One tip was to use the lens of sunglasses as a filter, and another to carry a ladder, for on occasion, in Charlie’s case; he stood on a rickety table and nearly fell off, In order to catch the optimum angle for the best shot!

Charlie has travelled the world in his quest for photographic excellence. His description spanned some of the lines and angles used, from the blocks of Greek architecture to the beauty of arcs and hemispheres in Venice, to name a few.

To summarise, in Charlie’s case, it was obvious that the dialogue between the photographer and the landscape come together in glorious symmetry.

Copies of his latest book entitled “Art and Line perspectives” and also both DVDs and CD’s were on sale, these were eagerly “snapped” up by the audience.

Thanks you Charlie for such an inspirational and educational talk. No doubt we’ll all be out tomorrow, armed with cameras, sunglasses and possibly ladders.

Jackie Corrigan

TEA, BROWSE, PAINT - Paula Hobdey

It is always a pleasure when an artist invites us into their home and studio and Paula Hobdey has done so with particular generosity this year offering tea, coffee and biscuits plus a glass-making activity aimed primarily at children and offering a chance to pick up and keep the completed piece when dry.

Of course the focus of her exhibition is her art and there is generosity here too with her acrylics and mixed media paintings not only affordably priced but often a steal! Here is an opportunity to come home with a framed original to hang on your wall forever.

Her subject matter ranges from attractive local and Norfolk landscapes to some interesting abstracts. One in reds and golds works both as an abstract and, to me at least, as an autumnal scene with watery reflections. Abstract in Gold plays with intricate shapes and glittering motifs. Fascinatingly, Scrapheap has a similar flavour as if she has found the abstract beauty in such an unglamorous subject. In one work, focusing on penguins and simply depicted in red, black and white, there is a strong design element that it would be good to see her explore further.

Paula does not seem to believe that anything is unworthy of the artist's attention so there is an endearing painting of dandelions and a messy plot with an outdoor tap in it entitled Dreamland, acknowledging the power of nature however it presents itself.

I liked the humanity of her work and the presence of children playing in some of her landscapes, a collaged kite dancing in the wind in one. I think young visitors will especially enjoy these and also the collie dog having a "bad hair day" or her fantasy picture including witches, broomsticks and cats.

There is much that catches the attention generally as you wander through the downstairs rooms in her cosy house taking in well-crafted scenes such as hovering kestrels, Hardy-esque heroine on a lonely country path under a turbulent sky or the two bare trees, almost conversing with each other.

On a fine day you can also enjoy her pretty garden complete with summerhouse and, bizarrely, dinosaur skeletons by a fellow local artist. Catch her on weekends during the Fringe - just look for the balloons on Macclesfield Road.

Stephanie Billen

AN UNTITLED EXHIBITION - Adrienne Brown and Langley Brown

18 White Knowle Road

6-8 & 10-13 July

Adi and Langley have each been artists for over 50 years and like all the best creators they are always ready to find new ways of working as well as being willing to revisit their earlier work. They have exhibited in Buxton in the past and have built up a strong following. Those of you that know their work will be glad that this exhibition matches the high standards of previous events; if they are new to you then I would encourage you to get to White Knowle Road where you are assured of a warm welcome.

Adi's part of the exhibition is in the front room and you will find an interesting mixture of media. She has recently resumed oil painting after a gap of some years and is exhibiting two pieces. One is a charming portrait of her granddaughter wearing a crown. The warmth and trust between the two is readily evident. The other oil is of honesty in a vase. The seed heads are set against a rich red background and the overall effect is delicate and calming. Honesty features often in Adi's work and the painting hangs with some photographs and embroidered images. Also take time to look of the fineness of the embroidery in her image of the Devonshire Dome.

Most of Langley's exhibition is an opportunity for him and us to revisit earlier work. Central to this are three large pencil and ink drawings from the late 1960s. Langley rediscovered these quite recently and the paper is slightly damaged but that only adds to the archival quality of images that are abstract yet somehow familiar. Much of Langley's work takes the form of controlled doodles that sometimes feature cartoonish dinosaurs or hands. There is a playfulness in his spacious and finely drawn doodles that suggest that they are for a children's book that is not yet written.

There is work for sale - cards, prints and original pieces of art (from as little as £30) - and you are likely to want something to remind you of your visit.

Keith Savage

THE WILD PEAK - High Peak Artists

The High Peak Artists’ group has been expanding and this year’s exhibition upstairs at the Pavilion Gardens’ Art Cafe is more diverse and successful than ever.

Taking the usefully broad theme of The Wild Peak, 30 artists and makers have contributed work celebrating the dramatic landscapes of the Dark Peak, its wildlife, flora and skies. Primarily, there is a really strong evocation of our local scenery in all its moods, from open and free in Louise Jannetta’s view from Chelmorton Low entitled From the Top of Derbyshire, to muted and atmospheric in Linda Rolland’s Brooding Skies or Yvonne Oates’s At the Changing of the Seasons. The drama of winter is evoked in David Woodrow’s After the Storm with its icy blues. Howard Levitt’s Autumn Light Over the Goyt makes a big impact but so too in a quieter way does Kathy MacMillan’s watercolour Sunrise on Stanage Edge, which has been used on the exhibition poster and, cleverly, on labels for every work in the show, creating a great sense of unity.

Some artists have taken different approaches. In these troubled times, Ingrid K Karlsson has created a jewel-coloured mixed media piece considering migration and displacement - a sense of threat amidst beautiful scenery. Claire de Ruiter has been inspired by North Lees Hall, model for Jane Eyre’s Thornfield and Emma Sidwell has let her imagination run riot in her fantastical work inspired by ‘Suicide Cave’ on Winnatts Pass. All the works in this exhibition are for sale but Emma has been particularly creative in making jewellery containing details from her painting.

Of the animal paintings, I particularly liked Carl Longmate’s lonely Kinder Scout sheep, the result of a weather-challenged en plein air painting session. If you are used to his heavily-peopled town scenes, this may surprise you.

There is a great variety of media - stoneware, etched copper, exquisite jewellery, linocut, mosaic, papier mache and even a heathery, wool and silk hat. Look out too for Joyce Prime’s glittering hand-coloured collograph oak leaf reminding us of the area’s ancient woodlands and Jane Dewberry’s The Waterfall, hand-embroidered over layered fabrics and as lovely as it sounds with its watery skeins of silver.

In one of the many interesting write ups, Kathy MacMillan talks about “wandering and painting this beautiful area - how blessed am I?” and it is an achievement of this exhibition that it leaves the viewer with a similar sense of privilege as we appreciate The Wild Peak afresh through these artists’ imaginations.

Stephanie Billen


Green Man Gallery, 16-20 & 22 July

Artist Ilsa Elford has created a portable mural which currently hangs on the wall opposite the entrance to the Green Man Gallery. A triptych - each panel about six metres long and a metre deep - painted with acrylic to help it survive the weather, on themes of peace, sustainability and equality.

Ilsa has combined hundreds of images and motifs with verse which is beautifully painted on a 'scroll' which winds it's way across each panel. The work is propagandist in style; it is not presented as a multi-faceted debate. It is about taking a stand on what are literally life and death matters. There is a naivety and confidence about The Writing On The Wall which given events of recent weeks makes it a welcome, hopeful statement.

The first panel is red and orange in tone overall. It includes images to do with imperialism, conscientious objectors, nuclear weapons and the United Nations. The second panel is dominated by green and blue tones and presents a range of environmental issues and campaigns: the RSPB, WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, organic farming and deforestation. The third panel has a lilac hue and focuses on equality - especially sexual equality: birth control, equal pay, childcare, objectification and the importance of education are included in the statement.

If you find yourself in broad agreement with what Ilsa puts before you then the question and challenge is "What are you going to do about it?"

Keith Savage